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Fall 2012 - Social Phobia
Being uncomfortable in new social situations is a fairly common phenomenon for children and adolescents. Below is a timely Blog on the topic by our therapist: Letisha Erb, LMSW.

Being uncomfortable in new social situations is a fairly common phenomenon for children and adolescents.

Most children have some anxiety when entering a new situation. They may wonder what the situation will be like, they may wonder if they will be liked or fit in. When talking with a young girl just the other day she was gave me a little insight into her concerns regarding beginning her first day of school. Her biggest concern was, will the other students know her name and like her. Of course her concerns were put to rest after her first day of school. The concerns that she verbalized are very common concerns that parents and caretakers manage regularly.

However, there is a time when these concerns begin to rise and can become overwhelming for a child. The concerns begin to immobilize the child/teen with fear to the point where they want to avoid those social settings and situations at all cost. This is called social phobia.

Social phobia as described by the Diagnostic Manual of Disorders (DSMIVTR) is, "a marked and persistent fear of one or more social performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others. The individual fears that he/she will act in a way (or show anxiety symptoms) that will be humiliating or embarrassing" and "...this must occur with peers, not just interactions with adults, for at least 6 months."

It is important to recognize the difference between social phobia and what is normal anticipation/angst regarding new situations. It is important because when left undetected or untreated the child or adolescent begins to experience a loss of confidence, independence, and self-esteem. This can then impact their learning and performance in school, sports, and other settings.

Social phobia is a disorder that is treatable. If you feel your child or adolescent is experiencing social phobia contact your child's pediatrician or locate a therapist that is trained in treating anxiety related disorders. This will help your child get back on track to doing the things they once enjoyed.

Fall 2012 - Anxiety
With the hurried and haired pace of life today, anxiety continues to rise to unhealthy levels. Below is a timely Blog on the topic by our therapist: Letisha Erb, LMSW.

When Anxiety is Too Much

We all know that feeling when we are beginning something new of the "butterflies in the stomach." That feeling is what our minds and bodies use as energy to complete an unfamiliar task. It also helps us to focus on such tasks as exams and sports and gives us the energy to do our best. However, there can be such a time when this energy turns from helpful to harmful.

When the energy turns from helpful to harmful it becomes anxiety. Anxiety is worry that robs the mind and body of helpful energy. It directs the energy in negative ways causing our bodies to have symptoms such as sweaty palms, a racing heart, excessive muscle tension, worry, loss of sleep, and an overall lack of focus for necessary tasks. When this occurs a therapist trained in the cognitive behavioral approach to treating anxiety can help.

It is important to get help as anxiety can be crippling; stunting the emotional growth of youth and causing young adults to lose focus. There are many differing forms that this anxiety can take so it is important to seek counseling to determine how best to help resolve this issue.